SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Riding a surge in sales, Cisco Systems Inc. reported a 54 percent increase in first-quarter earnings, slightly edging Wall Street's expectations.

Sales rose by 39 percent, rising to $2.59 billion from $1.87 billion for Cisco, the world's biggest maker of equipment linking computers in networks.

The San Jose-based company said Wednesday it earned $518 million, or 31 cents per share on a diluted basis, for the three months ended Oct. 24. The company earned $337 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

The results included a $41 million charge associated with Cisco's purchase of American Internet Corp., a software developer. Excluding the charge, Cisco would have earned 34 cents per diluted share.

Analysts surveyed by First Call predicted earnings of 33 cents a diluted share, also excluding the charge.

Earnings results take into account a three-for-two stock split that was effective Sept. 15.

Cisco cited stronger customer demand across its line of products that enable companies to communicate with internal networks and to link their computer networks to the Internet.